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Thread: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

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    Senior Member Laura N's Avatar
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    Default Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Short version: he is a master nib-worker, who turned a pen that was just okay into a pen that is wonderful. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs work on a special pen.

    Long version: One of the most frustrating experiences is having a pen whose nib is okay but for some undefinable reason not wonderful. There's no flaw, but you just don't love writing with it. That's especially true when the pen is an expensive one. I saved up for years for my one Nakaya, a Portable Writer in Aka-tamenuri, with a fine nib. And it was just okay, for me. There wasn't anything wrong with the nib -- it was tuned as I liked and it was in alignment. There was no reason to send it back for adjustment. It was a perfect Nakaya nib. It just turns out that a perfect Nakaya nib isn't a perfect nib for me.

    Sidebar: I well understand that for many people the Nakaya nib is a perfect experience, so I am not casting aspersions. It's a fine pen. It's just a matter of taste, and it turns out that I just prefer a different experience. For example, I prefer a Sailor fine nib. That's one of the problems with buying blind, which I knew going in. In buying this pen blind, I broke my cardinal rule, and that's all on me. I know that's a stupid thing to do, especially with an expensive pen. It's not the pen's fault. But when one of your most expensive pens isn't your favorite, it's disappointing.

    So, when I went to the Chicago Pen Show the first weekend of May, I brought my Nakaya just in case Mike Masuyama attended. I have a fine nib that he ground for one of my Edison pens, and that is one of my favorite nibs. Mike used to work for Sailor, and I just had a feeling he'd be the perfect person for this pen. I was lucky enough to find him there, but unlucky enough to only have an hour at the show, which wasn't enough time to get through his waiting list. He volunteered to take the pen back to California with him. I simply said to him and his wife that for some reason I don't like this nib, please take a look and perhaps make it more like a Sailor fine. He said he'd adjust it. He thought the Nakaya might be a little more flexy than I liked.

    And now, just about two weeks later, it is back in my hands. And it is transformed. I have absolutely no idea what he did -- there's a lot of art in this, and maybe a bit of magic -- but for me the pen is now perfect. It writes lighter for me, somehow: thinner and perhaps sharper. I am so grateful. Also a little astonished. He took my vague discontent, and my complete lack of instruction, and he turned this pen into a perfect writer for me.

    I'm now going to root around for any disappointing pens I might have, and send them to Mike.

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    This is my experience with Mike as well. He gets all of my nib work. I've been sending pens to him since 2009--so I'm sure he's worked on dozens of nibs for me now--and only one pen has ever come back with an unsatisfactory grind. I contacted him about it, and then sent the pen back, and he reworked it, no questions asked. I also love how, when you sit down with him at pen shows, he explains exactly what he's doing and why and even draws pictures in order to illustrate different nib/feed problems; I always learn something new from him.

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Laura,

    By focusing on one repair/nib person, I don't know if it invalidates my idea, but if it doesn't, I think this would make a nice piece for "A Pen of One's Own". Maybe speak to the individuality of nib comfort, the aspects of working with craftspeople on your treasured objects, etc. Great topic and good personal story, and that column has been quiet for a bit too long.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Thank you for that report/review! I've been in correspondence with Mike about a few of my pens that need some work and am heartened by your positive experience. Hopefully I'll have some wonderful pens in 3 months

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Laura,

    By focusing on one repair/nib person, I don't know if it invalidates my idea, but if it doesn't, I think this would make a nice piece for "A Pen of One's Own". Maybe speak to the individuality of nib comfort, the aspects of working with craftspeople on your treasured objects, etc. Great topic and good personal story, and that column has been quiet for a bit too long.
    Thanks, Jon. When that's possible again, I look forward to it. I love that idea.

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    I'm now going to root around for any disappointing pens I might have, and send them to Mike.
    Hey, if you find out all your swanky pens are in good order, feel free to send in some of mine.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    I first encountered Mike in 2012 after reading about him in one of the forums. I own a Montblanc 149 with fine nib that I bought in the mid-1970's. This pen saw me through law school, the bar exam and my first three jobs as a lawyer. In 1992 I dropped the 149, nib first, onto a hardwood floor. The nib hit a small crack between two planks and - - *twang* - - stuck like an arrow. The nib was definitely sprung and beyond repair (or so I thought). But this was before I knew anything about nib meisters, and so the pen sat in a drawer for the next 20 years.

    Then in 2012 I heard about Mike, sent the 149 to him, and a few weeks later it was returned in top operating condition. I sent Mike a handwritten note (penned, of course, with the repaired Montblanc), told him that he had literally raised the 149 from the world of dead pens and that henceforth the pen would be known by me as the "Lazarus Pen," . . . and so it has.
    Last edited by Robert; May 14th, 2014 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Need remedial bible study work: there's no "o' in "Lazarus."

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Mike is my miracle worker! I came across him before he had a queue... ah those were the days, ay?

    He's taken nibs ruined by well-meaning pen people who over flexed, or ruined other nib grinders, and restored the nibs to sublime, working order. He also explained why the other regrinds were not optimal. *To be polite about it*

    Once, he reground a nib... when he returned it, before I could even write with the pen, it flew out of my hands nib down onto the floor... he very sweetly had me send it back to fix without any charge.

    Mike's not just about teeny, tiny nib widths, either, as much as I tout his perfect .2mm. As Laura has written, he can take a lousy pen experience and make a pen, uh, work as it should.

    Laura: glad you had such a great experience with Mike!
    Last edited by jde; May 15th, 2014 at 09:20 AM. Reason: to keep on topic!

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    I share your sentiments. Mr. Masuyama was not only receptive to my requests, but also cautioned me from taking one step too many. I am thrilled with what he did, and will definitely send more pens to him

    J

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    I would also like to add my $0.02 about Mike's work. I had a new Conway Stewart with a Fine italic nib that was a mess. I sent it to him and when it came back it instantly catapulted to the very top of my favorite pens list. I also have one of his Medium italic nibs from Franklin-Christoph that is a beauty of a writer.

    I also have a Sailor nib that took an unfortunate tumble. I've mostly fixed it, and attempted a regrind on it myself...which was about 85% successful, but I'll be sending that one in to him to work his magic and/or undo what I did. There are also a couple of other pens I'd like looked at as well. I suspect he'll be getting more of my business soon.

    Nibmistery is a trade for which I would love to apprentice. I find it utterly fascinating.

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    Thumbs up Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Another reporting in on a great experience with Mike. His quote on turnaround time was accurate (hooray!) and his work top notch. He went above and beyond to fix a problem with the Frankenpen cap to avoid my Waterman music nib tines getting misaligned. Prices more than reasonable to top it off.

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    I am putting Mike on top of my potential nib worker's list. Thanks for all of this valuable information.

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    It's always nice to see a post about Mike appear at the top of a thread, regardless of how it gets there.
    He is a first class guy and an extraordinarily talented nibmeister.

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Quote Originally Posted by 724Seney View Post
    It's always nice to see a post about Mike appear at the top of a thread, regardless of how it gets there.
    He is a first class guy and an extraordinarily talented nibmeister.
    I thought this about a bumped ink review, and how beneficial it was to be reminded of it.

    The spammer achieving the opposite of their desired result. I'm doubly happy!

    p.s.: if you make sure to "ignore" them, you don't even see their post.
    "A truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged."

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    I had a Sailor 1911 with a 21K nib roll off a table and hit a hardwood floor nib first a few years ago, and I thought it was ruined. It looked really bad. I mean REALLY bad. I sent Mike a photo of it, and he wrote back and said he could fix it. I sent it to him, and sure enough, it came back looking brand new, but wrote way better than it had out of the box. Since then he's worked on three more nibs for me, grinding one into a cursive italic and two others into oblique stubs. All of them write great. The man is a genius, and his work is very reasonably priced. I can't praise him enough.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. ó Horace
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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    Short version: he is a master nib-worker, who turned a pen that was just okay into a pen that is wonderful. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs work on a special pen.

    Long version: One of the most frustrating experiences is having a pen whose nib is okay but for some undefinable reason not wonderful. There's no flaw, but you just don't love writing with it. That's especially true when the pen is an expensive one. I saved up for years for my one Nakaya, a Portable Writer in Aka-tamenuri, with a fine nib. And it was just okay, for me. There wasn't anything wrong with the nib -- it was tuned as I liked and it was in alignment. There was no reason to send it back for adjustment. It was a perfect Nakaya nib. It just turns out that a perfect Nakaya nib isn't a perfect nib for me.

    Sidebar: I well understand that for many people the Nakaya nib is a perfect experience, so I am not casting aspersions. It's a fine pen. It's just a matter of taste, and it turns out that I just prefer a different experience. For example, I prefer a Sailor fine nib. That's one of the problems with buying blind, which I knew going in. In buying this pen blind, I broke my cardinal rule, and that's all on me. I know that's a stupid thing to do, especially with an expensive pen. It's not the pen's fault. But when one of your most expensive pens isn't your favorite, it's disappointing.

    So, when I went to the Chicago Pen Show the first weekend of May, I brought my Nakaya just in case Mike Masuyama attended. I have a fine nib that he ground for one of my Edison pens, and that is one of my favorite nibs. Mike used to work for Sailor, and I just had a feeling he'd be the perfect person for this pen. I was lucky enough to find him there, but unlucky enough to only have an hour at the show, which wasn't enough time to get through his waiting list. He volunteered to take the pen back to California with him. I simply said to him and his wife that for some reason I don't like this nib, please take a look and perhaps make it more like a Sailor fine. He said he'd adjust it. He thought the Nakaya might be a little more flexy than I liked.

    And now, just about two weeks later, it is back in my hands. And it is transformed. I have absolutely no idea what he did -- there's a lot of art in this, and maybe a bit of magic -- but for me the pen is now perfect. It writes lighter for me, somehow: thinner and perhaps sharper. I am so grateful. Also a little astonished. He took my vague discontent, and my complete lack of instruction, and he turned this pen into a perfect writer for me.

    I'm now going to root around for any disappointing pens I might have, and send them to Mike.
    I've had Mike grind two Pelikan pnes for me and I was very pleased with the results !

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    Default Re: Mike Masuyama of Mike It Work

    Yeah, I also had the opportunity to use some nibs he ground for others. These have been great!

    For anyone having a bent nib from accident: I can only give you a heads-up and encourage you to contact a nib person to have a look at it rather than give up the nib! I have fixed and repaired several nibs myself, sometimes giving these re-shaped nibs a re-grind, and oftentimes I as well as the owners found that these near catastrophes have been a blessing in disguise, as most of the pens write better afterwards than they did before.

    As long as nothing has broken off the nib (or its tip) most things are reparable, so you should give it a try!

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